2018 was a year full of ups and downs in my life, it was the culmination of some of the goals that I had previously set for myself in my work life but it was also the year that my personal life drastically shifted. The year started with turmoil. I was struggling with depression, self-doubt, and an unhealthy relationship – I was always in the wrong, always needing to explain my actions and justify my feelings. The relationship was controlling and only getting worse over time, I was able to see that it wasn’t healthy and I felt my mental health spiralling downwards.
I was drifting farther away from who I had worked so hard to be; I am a fiercely independent woman and yet when I was in this relationship, I had lost this vital piece of myself; a piece in which I had spent years cultivating and strengthening, had disappeared before I realized what was happening.
I was unhappy and it had taken months to realize that it was my relationship that was the cause. I was able to end the relationship as summer set in and then began my journey to rediscover who I was, who I am. I was able to get away for a while and I went on a trip, I received a promotion at work and I bought my first house! As 2018 winds down I am able to recognize the growth that I have already made and I am currently laying the blocks to rebuild my life in the way that I deserve.
For 2019 I am hoping to continue on this path and expand upon it. I am going to try and keep my plan simple and obtainable – I have found that, personally, if it has too many steps or too many drastic changes from my current life it turns into a “fad” and it wont stick. I need a lifestyle change. 2019 is going to be the year to rebuild my foundation. To get my mental health back to a level that I will be able to help myself, to repay those who have helped me along this journey and to be able to help others going forward.
I plan to do this by:
- Improving my physical fitness – this has not been a priority in my life over the past few years but it is a key contributor to mental health. I plan to start running and in the summer I am going to look into potentially joining a team, my coworkers are involved in various teams from ultimate to soccer to softball so these may be options to explore as the snow melts.
- Removing Isolation– all my adult life I have struggled with depression and this has resulted in a self-imposed isolation. Anxiety and self-doubt have prevented me from connecting with others and putting myself out there. It is not a healthy habit and it may be the most difficult one to break, but I have already begun to work on this by going for lunch with colleagues rather than turning them down when they ask. I plan to keep this going as well by reaching out and inviting others to join me when there is something that comes up such as a movie or concert that I would like to attend. It will always be a no if I never ask.
- Drinking more water– I love my coffee through the morning, my tea in the afternoon and a nice glass of red wine in the evening. But while my love of hot drinks take me though my day, and are made with water the caffeine still dehydrates. I want to improve on my water intake this year, so I plan to label my water bottle with times – how much water I should have consumed by a certain time each day to keep me on track and accountable.
- Stay Positive– it is very easy to fall into a negative mindset these days. Over the past few years and especially in the past few months I have been working daily to always look for the positive in the day. Whether it be looking for the positive in each situation that I encounter or making sure to play with my dog or cat to get a smile on a hard day. I plan to continue this going forward – When I move into my new home in February the animals will be staying with my parents, but I plan to adopt a new furry friend or two. They need the company and love as much as I do.
- Getting Involved– My work has different programs that they are always running, Wellness Committees, Christmas Hampers and other ways to get involved. I think this year I would like to get involved in the United Way Campaign as it will help me get involved in my work community as well as the local community. I also plan to give back to my community as well by regularly donating blood. I gave for the first time this past year through an event with the United Way Campaign and it felt rewarding to be able to help in that way, sometimes it feels difficult to donate as money always seems to be the go-to way these days; but giving my time is free and it does not cost anything to donate blood either.
Through these actions I am hoping that 2019 will be my year for growth. I want to rebuild my foundation and grow as a person – to be mentally and physically fit so that I can help others and give back to my family, as they have been such a support for me this year.
Here’s to growth in 2019! Cheers!